Firm Profile > VdA > Lisbon, Portugal

Rua Dom Luis I, 28
1200-151 Lisboa

Banking and finance Tier 1

The ‘excellent’, 'dynamic' team at VDA is noted for its superb track record. It acts in complex, high-value deals for lenders and borrowers, handles regulatory matters and attracted some innovative work. It advised a banking syndicate consisting of Unicredit, Siemens Bank, BCP, Novo Banco, Demir-Halk Bank, DenizBank and the European Investment Bank on the €240m debt refinancing of six port operators. The matter was led by Pedro Cassiano Santos, who is singled out for his longstanding expertise. Paula Gomes Freire, Cláudia da Cruz AlmeidaTiago Correia Moreira, who was promoted to the partnership in 2020, and managing associate Benedita Aires are also recommended. Pedro Simões Coelho and Hugo Moredo Santos are the other names to note.

Capital markets Tier 1

VDA advised JP Morgan Securities as arranger and placement agent and Hefesto STC as issuer on the Portuguese law aspects of the €580m securitisation of an NPL portfolio held by Caixa Económica Montepio Geral. Paula Gomes Freire led the case, with support from Hugo Moredo Santos and recommended managing associate Orlando Vogler GuinéPedro Cassiano Santos and José Pedro Fazenda Martins jointly lead the team.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

VDA handles high-value, complex transactions for an impressive roster of clients. It advised MEO – Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia on the €660m sale of its telecoms tower business in Portugal and attracted a number of transactions in the financial services sector. The ‘fantastic’ Jorge Bleck is ‘a reference for everything he has done’; he co-heads the team with Paulo Olavo Cunha. Helena Vaz Pinto, Claudia Cruz Almeida and managing partner João Vieira de Almeida are also recommended.

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Available, engaged and efficient’, VDA's team is representing PT Ventures in a €100m ICSID arbitration against the state of Cape Verde in which the client claims compensation for expropriation following its removal from Cabo Verde Telecom, a company run in partnership between the two parties. The case is being led by practice heads Frederico Gonçalves Pereira and Miguel Pinto Cardoso; Miguel Pinto Cardoso is ‘on another level’, ‘objective’ and ‘very strong in court’.

Energy and natural resources Tier 1

Strong in both oil and gas and renewables, in the former case mostly active in luso- and francophone Africa, VDA advised banks and operators on domestic renewables projects, and domestic and international oil and gas and electricity companies on operations abroad. Manuel Protásio leads the team, Vanda Cascão spearheads the firm’s Green Economy initiative, and João Afonso Fialho the oil and gas practice. The highly regarded Ana Luís de Sousa made partner. Rui Amendoeira left the firm.

EU and competition Tier 1

VDA possesses broad knowledge encompassing all areas of EU and competition law and lawyers ‘always bear in mind that most issues can easily become litigious and therefore make sure to reduce any risk’. The team counts several high-profile domestic companies among its clients; it recently advised Meo on the sale of equity stakes in its telecoms tower businesses. Practice head Nuno Ruiz ‘possesses unrivalled knowledge of the applicable statutes and the relevant court decisions’. Managing associate Rita Aleixo Gregório and senior associate Cláudia Coutinho da Costa are also recommended. Ricardo Bordalo Junqueiro rejoined from Cuatrecasas in February 2018, having initially left in 2013. Miguel Mendes Pereira is now with DLA Piper ABBC.

Insolvency and restructuring Tier 1

VDA has had roles in some of the country’s most prominent insolvencies and restructurings, including cross-border matters, handling in- and out-of-court procedures. Frederico Gonçalves Pereira and Paulo Olavo Cunha co-head the team; senior adviser Teresa Pitôrra is recommended. Joana Domingues left in January 2018 for a role in-house at PNCB - Plataforma de Negociação Integrada de Créditos Bancários.

Intellectual property Tier 1

The ‘innovative and creative’ team at VDA provides 'excellent strategic advice’ primarily on patent litigation and arbitration to clients including Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, and Merck Sharp & Dohme. It also assisted technology-sector clients with general IP matters, and design clients with trade marks issues. The ‘hugely experiencedAntónio de Magalhães Cardoso leads the team. Patrícia Paias left in November 2017 to take up a role in-house at Sandoz. António Andrade left the firm.

Projects and project finance Tier 1

VDA conjoins its strengths in finance, energy and infrastructure to advise lenders and contractors on projects, PPPs, project financing and refinancing, debt restructuring and transactions in Portugal and in lusophone Africa. A domestic highlight was assisting Banco BPI with the financing of a 25MW photovoltaic power plant with no guaranteed remuneration including a third-party power purchase agreement for a period of ten years. Energy specialists Teresa Empis Falcão, Vanda Cascão, and newly promoted partner Ana Luís de Sousa handled the matter. Manuel Protásio heads the practice. Paulo de Barros Baptista specialises in infrastructure and highway projects.

Public law Tier 1

VDA ‘works very well as a team’, assisting high-profile domestic companies and public entities with the full range of public law matters. It represented Elos in arbitration, constitutional, and administrative judicial proceedings against the Portuguese state claiming compensation for the cancellation of a high-speed railway project. Paulo Pinheiro, who is noted for his ‘strategic legal capacity and leadership vision’, and Rodrigo Esteves de Oliveira are the key names; they have ‘a practical mindset allied with profound knowledge of public law’. Catarina Pinto Correia was promoted to the partnership. Managing associates Ana Marta Castro and André Proença are also recommended. Mário Esteves de Oliveira sadly passed away in 2019.

Real estate and construction Tier 1

Solid as a team and individually, the 18-strong practice at VDA is headed by the respected and ‘collaborativePedro Ferreirinha, who, along with Miguel Marques dos Santos, advises a range of clients on complex and high-value acquisitions and sales of portfolios, offices, retail, hospitality and other commercial as well as residential properties. The ‘intelligentPedro Pereira Coutinho, who was promoted to the partnership in 2020, provides ‘hands-on’ support.

TMT Tier 1

VDA's team includes telecoms expert Margarida Couto, Fernando Resina da Silva, who handles IT and emerging technologies matters, and Magda Cocco, who has a focus on privacy, data protection and cybersecurity. It advised Altice subsidiary Meo on the sale of equity stakes in its telecoms tower businesses, and assisted the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology with drafting an innovative law for a national space strategy, including R&D and access to space by the private sector. The team also handles a variety of TMT matters in other Portuguese-speaking countries.

Employment Tier 2

VDA handles the entire gamut of employment matters, including in other Portuguese-speaking jurisdictions. It is representing one of the largest Portuguese private security companies in a case concerning the application of an employment termination provision in the event of appointment to the board. Managing associate Américo Oliveira Fragoso is a ‘well-seasoned lawyer with deep academic knowledge’, and both managing associates Tiago Piló and Tiago Cochofel de Azevedo are ‘strong advisers’. Piló heads the team jointly with Rui Andrade.

Fraud and white-collar crime Tier 2

VDA is ‘discreet’ and ‘very much aware of the surrounding environment’. It successfully represented Brisa director Vasco de Mello, who was accused by the public prosecutor of insider trading, and it is representing REN in a criminal investigation concerning alleged collusion between the government and the client and EDP at the time of the energy sector liberalisation in the 2000s. The team has also handled cybercrime cases. Sofia Ribeiro Branco is ‘always available’ and ‘develops sound and solid winning strategies’. João Medeiros joined the firm in September 2019 from PLMJ.

Oporto: leading commercial firms Tier 2

Isabel Gião Andrade heads the Oporto office of VDA, which works closely with the Lisbon team. It advised clients in the funds, manufacturing, energy, healthcare and technology sectors on corporate, tax, employment, public law, GDPR, governance and other internal issues, as well as disputes. It assisted CLdN in setting up a company providing ro-ro services as well as with the group’s reorganisation. STCP - Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto is another client. Managing associate Frederico Antas, Inês Ribera, João Soares Franco and Benedita Gonçalves are also noted.

Planning law Tier 2

VDA advises on planning matters related to domestic real estate and urban projects and disputes, and on infrastructure and energy projects in lusophone Africa. Domestically, the highlight was assisting IFRRU 2020 with the implementation of the financial mechanism for urban renewal and regeneration. Rodrigo Esteves de Oliveira and Raul Mota Cerveira lead the team.

Tax Tier 2

Strong know-how, a 360 degree vision and efficiency’ is what makes VDA's team stand out. It covers direct and indirect tax, litigation and arbitration, and continues to develop its reach in lusophone Africa and East Timor. Advising high-profile domestic and international clients, it has particular expertise in financial tax, recently assisting Banco de Portugal in relation to transactions emerging from the fallout of the financial crisis. Tiago Marreiros Moreira and Joaquim Pedro Lampreia are recommended, as are managing associates Ricardo Seabra Moura, Francisco Cabral Matos and Conceição GamitoSamuel Fernandes de Almeida is another name to note.

Transport Tier 2

A multidisciplinary practice that pools many of the firm’s core strengths, VDA covers the entire range of transport matters. Highlight work included representing a charterer in a dispute with a container terminal operator at the port of Luanda following a vessel collision with the terminal’s pier, and advising J.P. Morgan International Bank on the Portuguese law aspects of an English Law facility agreement to finance an aircraft intended for use in Portugal. Paulo de Barros BaptistaTeresa Empis Falcão, who covers infrastructure and mobility matters, aviation finance expert Pedro Simões Coelho, and shipping-focused João Afonso Fialho are the names to note.

With over 40 years of experience, Vieira de Almeida (VdA) is an international law firm noted for top-quality legal advice and cutting-edge innovation. A profound business know-how coupled with a highly specialised cross-sector legal practice enable the firm to effectively meet the increasingly complex challenges faced by clients. VdA offers robust solutions based on consistent standards of excellence, ethics and professionalism, and is acknowledged as a leading provider of legal services by the most reputed professional organisations, international publications and research institutions. VdA has consistently and consecutively received the industry’s most prestigious awards and nominations.
Through VdA Legal Partners clients have access to a wide sectorial coverage and a team of lawyers across 13 jurisdictions: Portugal; Angola; Cabo Verde; Cameroon; Chad; Congo; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Guinea Bissau; Sao Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste.
VdA Legal Partners consolidates VdA’s international footprint, bringing together all the lawyers and independent law firms affiliated with VdA for the provision of integrated legal services in Lusophone and Francophone Africa, as well as Timor-Leste.
The firm has a unique blend of exceptional technical expertise, a commercial mindset and in-depth knowledge across industries and local markets. Each mandate is tenaciously handled by multidisciplinary teams comprised of subject-matter specialists and local practitioners. Lawyers at VdA work as a team regardless of their physical location: enthusiastic client service is part of their DNA, wherever the client may be.
The firm’s international reach is further enhanced through a set of working relationships with some of the most reputed law firms in Europe, America – particularly Brazil – Asia and Africa:

• Angola
With an extensive experience in Angola, our lawyers have led the most high-profile operations and projects of the last decades, particularly in the Oil&Gas, mining, banking & finance and the telecommunications sectors. The exclusive Angolan member of VdA Legal Partners, Luanda-based RLA – Sociedade de Advogados RL, is comprised of notable local lawyers, deeply familiarized with the Angolan market, drawing upon the talents and skills of over 300 VdA attorneys across jurisdictions and several international offices. Clients’ most demanding and multifaceted needs in Angola are met by a highly specialised and fully dedicated cross-sector legal practices. For further information, please visit:
• Cabo-Verde
At VdA, our lawyers have assisted with diversified projects and operations in Cabo Verde, particularly in the telecommunications, banking & finance, energy, and tourism sectors, further standing out for their extensive work in legislative production as part of the great legal reforms undertaken in recent years. Our local partner, CWV, is the first Cabo Verdean law firm. Enjoying local and international recognition, CWV couples a strong knowledge of the market and local culture with best international practice. For further information, please contact:
• Cameroon
VdA has a team of French-speaking lawyers who have supported several investors in Cameroon. Our local partner, Core Africa Lawyers, is a renowned law firm in the Cameroonian market, with international recognition in OHADA Law, as well as in the Oil&Gas practice and Project Finance. For further information, please visit:
• Chad
We have a proven track record of supporting our clients across francophone Africa, assisting several projects and clients in Chad. VdA’s French-speaking lawyers team up with our local partner, Cabinet BASSOUNDA & Partners, a law firm of reference in the Chadian market, internationally recognised as an expert in OHADA Law, as well as in tax, employment & benefits, finance and litigation matters. Our expertise in all the relevant sectors coupled with the understanding of the local market and its intricacies enables us to provide clients with a seamless service on the largest and most innovative transactions across the country. For further information, please contact:
• Congo
Our team of French-speaking lawyers have a large experience in advising major investors operating in Congo, particularly in the Oil&Gas sector and in connection with tax matters. We work with an association of two highly reputed local partners: Pointe-Noire based Sutter & Pearce, with extensive experience in the oil & gas field and in contentious and non-contentious tax matters and Cabinet Mathias Esserek, regarded for its breadth of experience in contentious matters, notably litigation before the courts of the country. For further information, please contact:
• Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Our lawyers are highly experienced practitioners in the DRC, notably within the mining, Oil&Gas and public works’ sectors, often representing clients in direct negotiations with the government and in public tenders, namely in the context of rail and road infrastructures. VdA’s breadth and in-depth expertise empower agile solutions to our clients’ most demanding and multifaceted needs, notably in tax, environment and corporate law related matters. Our local partner in the DRC is MBM-CONSEIL, a reference law firm with offices in the capital Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kolwezi. The firm is one of the largest and longest-established law practices in the country, highly ranked by the leading international directories It routinely provides legal advice to international investors and clients with expertise that encompasses all areas of business law but with a focus on natural resources, transportation and tax. For further information, please contact:
• Equatorial Guinea
Our VdA lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the Equato-Guinean market, regularly assisting major investors in the country, including in contentious matters, chiefly in the Oil&Gas sector but also in the infrastructure, transport, banking & finance and energy sectors, as well as in national and international arbitration. For further information, please contact:
• Gabon
Our team of French-speaking lawyers’ track record in advising major investors in Gabon, particularly in the Oil&Gas and mining sectors, both in contentious and non-contentious work, is enhanced by our local partnership with the Gabonese law firm Cabinet JOB, a reference in the country and one that enjoys international recognition. For further information, please contact:
• Guinea-Bissau
Our lawyers regularly advise clients in Guinea-Bissau, particularly companies operating within the infrastructure, telecommunications, banking & finance and distribution sectors. Our teams draw upon highly reputed and market savvy local lawyers at TSK Legal, the largest law firm in Guinea-Bissau and an exclusive member of VdA Legal Partners. For further information, please contact:
• Mozambique
Guilherme Daniel & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados, Lda. is the exclusive member of VdA Legal Partners in Mozambique. Combining a dynamic and multifaceted team with international background with a deep understanding of the local Mozambican market, Guilherme Daniel is particularly focused on the energy, infrastructure and the banking & finance sectors, drawing upon the accumulated know-how of over 280 VdA Legal Partners’ lawyers worldwide. For further information, please visit:
• São Tomé e Príncipe
With an extensive experience in São Tomé and Principe, our lawyers have consistently supported major international investors in recent years, notably in the Oil&Gas, banking & finance and tourism sectors. Our local partner, VNA Law Firm, is a highly reputed law firm with a young, dynamic team with in-depth knowledge of the local situation, offering specialized, close and practical assistance to our clients. For further information, please visit:
• Timor-Leste
With an extensive experience in Timor-Leste, and a bespoke combination of relationships, skills and experience in all relevant sectors – notably in telecommunications, banking & finance, infrastructure and oil&gas matters, our teams in Timor-Leste have also often been involved in extensive work regarding legislative production as part of the legal reforms undertaken in the country over recent years. For further information, please contact:

Sector expertise :
• Agribusiness
• Aviation
• Banks
• Defence
• Distribution
• Energy
• Fast Moving Consumer Goods
• Funds
• Healthcare
• Insurance
• Life sciences
• Mining
• Oil&Gas
• Ports & Airports
• Private Equity and Venture Capital
• Public Administration
• Public Sector Companies
• Rail Infrastructures
• Real Estate
• Regulatory Entities
• Road Infrastructures
• Shipping
• Social Economy (Foundations, Associations)
• Space
• Technology & Innovation
• Telecoms
• Tourism
• Water and Waste

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance +351 213 113 400
Capital markets +351 213 113 400
Competition and EU +351 213 113 400
Corporate and governance +351 213 113 400
Employment and benefits +351 213 113 400
Insurance +351 213 113 400
Intellectual property +351 213 113 400
IT and outsourcing +351 213 113 400
Life sciences +351 213 113 400
Litigation and arbitration +351 213 113 400
M&A, corporate finance +351 213 113 400
Oil and gas +351 213 113 400
Planning +351 213 113 400
Privacy, data protection and cybersecurity +351 213 113 400
Projects – infrastructure, energy and natural resources +351 213 113 400
Public law +351 213 113 400
Real estate and environment +351 213 113 400
Tax +351 213 113 400
Telecoms and media +351 213 113 400
Transport +351 213 113 400
Photo Name Position Profile
 João Afonso Fialho  photo João Afonso Fialho
 Benedita Aires  photo Benedita Aires
 Rui Andrade  photo Rui Andrade
 Jorge Bleck  photo Jorge Bleck
 Ricardo Bordalo Junqueiro  photo Ricardo Bordalo Junqueiro
 Vanda Cascão  photo Vanda Cascão
 Pedro Cassiano Santos  photo Pedro Cassiano Santos
 Magda Cocco  photo Magda Cocco
 Margarida Couto  photo Margarida Couto
 Teresa Empis Falcão  photo Teresa Empis Falcão
 Rodrigo Esteves de Oliveira  photo Rodrigo Esteves de Oliveira
 José Pedro Fazenda Martins  photo José Pedro Fazenda Martins
 Samuel Fernandes de Almeida  photo Samuel Fernandes de Almeida
 Pedro Ferreirinha  photo Pedro Ferreirinha
 Isabel Gião de Andrade  photo Isabel Gião de Andrade
 Paula Gomes Freire  photo Paula Gomes Freire
 Carla Gonçalves Borges  photo Carla Gonçalves Borges
 Frederico Gonçalves Pereira  photo Frederico Gonçalves Pereira
 Matthieu Le Roux  photo Matthieu Le Roux
 Ana Luís de Sousa  photo Ana Luís de Sousa
 Miguel Marques dos Santos  photo Miguel Marques dos Santos
 Tiago Marreiros Moreira  photo Tiago Marreiros Moreira
 Ana Marta Castro  photo Ana Marta Castro
 João Medeiros  photo João Medeiros
 Hugo Moredo Santos  photo Hugo Moredo Santos
 Tiago Correia Moreira photo Tiago Correia Moreira
 Raul Mota Cerveira  photo Raul Mota Cerveira
 Paulo Olavo Cunha  photo Paulo Olavo Cunha
 Francisca Paulouro  photo Francisca Paulouro
 Joaquim Pedro Lampreia  photo Joaquim Pedro Lampreia
 Pedro  Pereira Coutinho  photo Pedro  Pereira Coutinho
 Paulo Pinheiro  photo Paulo Pinheiro
 Miguel Pinto Cardoso  photo Miguel Pinto Cardoso
 Catarina Pinto Correia  photo Catarina Pinto Correia
 Manuel Protásio  photo Manuel Protásio
 Fernando Resina da Silva  photo Fernando Resina da Silva
 Sofia Ribeiro Branco  photo Sofia Ribeiro Branco
 Nuno Ruiz  photo Nuno Ruiz
 Pedro Simões Coelho  photo Pedro Simões Coelho
 Paulo Trindade Costa  photo Paulo Trindade Costa
 Helena Vaz Pinto  photo Helena Vaz Pinto
 João Vieira de Almeida  photo João Vieira de Almeida
 Cláudia da Cruz Almeida  photo Cláudia da Cruz Almeida
 Paulo de Barros Baptista  photo Paulo de Barros Baptista
 António de Magalhães Cardoso  photo António de Magalhães Cardoso
Number of lawyers : +300
Other offices : Porto
Other offices : Timor-Leste
Other offices : Angola*
Other offices : Cape Verde*
Other offices : Congo*
Other offices : Democratic Republic of Congo*
Other offices : Gabon*
Other offices : Guinea-Bissau*
Other offices : Equatorial Guinea*
Other offices : Mozambique*
Other offices : Sao Tome and Principe*

João Vieira de Almeida, managing partner

What do you see as the main points that differentiate your firm from your competitors?

A unique One Firm Firm culture, that impacts on how we work and interact with each other and the clients; a solid footprint in lusophone and francophone Africa, with an integrated network of offices in 13 jurisdictions.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

M&A, Real Estate, Litigation, Tax, Banking&Finance. Economic activity will continue to push these areas, as the country’s recovery maintains its pace.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

We restructured our practices matrix (and our governance model), to enhance a better integration and management of Knowledge, an even more integrated and collaborative approach to clients and industries, and the advantages of technological tools. I believe this will increase our ability to deliver more value, more efficiently.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Definitely. We are already developing an AI project that will enable the integration of technology in the services we provide as well as in our interaction with clients.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

Recently, we developed a Kaizen project where we helped a major real estate promoter to optimize its real estate development and sale processes (from the moment the client pays its first on-site visit to the execution of real estate deed).

By using the Kaizen approach we were able to obtain an holistic view as: (i) we mapped the critical business and legal paths – VdA’s, the client’s and the buyer’s ones; (ii) we uncovered the difficulties experienced by all stakeholders and (iii) we jointly built business and legal solutions (such as a negotiation matrix).

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Clients value firms that follow a strategic direction, on a stable and consistent way.

At VdA, our main challenges for the next 3 years will be convergence, collaboration and technology.

VdA has been appointed to preside over the Steering Committee of GRACE

VdA has been elected President of the Steering Committee of GRACE for the period 2018/2020. Partner Margarida Couto, shall take office on behalf of the firm.

GRACE ( is a pioneering non-profit public interest organisation gathering over 160 companies of all sizes and across industries, engaged in deepening their social role, as well as promoting and developing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Portugal.

The appointment of VdA to lead GRACE for the next 3 years is a strong motive for institutional pride, as it recognises the role played by the firm in Portugal, in matters regarding CSR.

Note :

VdA carries out an extensive corporate social responsibility programme, organised around several axes, notably corporate volunteer work, empowerment of non-profit organisations and the provision of pro bono legal services. Throughout 2017, VdA provided over 7.000 hours of free legal services to over 100 non-profit organisations. Over the years, the number of hours allocated to the CSR Programme has steadily increased.

At the end of 2016, VdA launched the Vasco Vieira de Almeida Foundation, having as key mission to educate for citizenship and assert the key role education and knowledge play in the promotion of human rights and the Rule of Law. The Foundation is also engaged in strengthening VdA’s CSR Programme, while an organised expression of the exercise of citizenship, reinforcing VdA’s lawyers’ and staff sense of belonging to the community at large.

Angola | Cabo Verde | Congo | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Equatorial Guinea | Gabon | Guinea-Bissau | Mozambique | Portugal | Sao Tome and Principe | Timor-Leste